KUWAIT: Stock markets in the energy-rich Gulf states dropped yesterday in the first trading session after Britain voted to leave the European Union. All seven Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stock markets were closed for the Muslim weekend on Friday when the result of the British referendum was announced. Share prices in most Gulf markets dropped sharply at the start of trading yesterday, but had recovered some of the losses by the close. The Kuwait Stock Exchange dropped 1.1 percent.

The Dubai Financial Market began the day by sliding 5.0 percent, but the index-the Gulf bourse most exposed to international markets-finished the day down 3.25 percent.

At one stage, investment companies fell 8.0 percent and real estate dropped 5.0 percent. Saudi stocks dropped 4.1 percent at the opening but recovered to close down just 1.1 percent. All 15 sectors were in negative territory. The Qatar Exchange fell 1.25 percent and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange dropped 1.85 percent.

The tiny bourses of Oman and Bahrain ended the day down 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. The six GCC states-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-have hundreds of billions of investments in Britain and other members of the European Union. They have large interests in the British real estate market and thousands of Gulf citizens own homes in Britain. Britain also has sizable real estate interests in Dubai and more than a million British tourists visit the UAE annually. - AFP